- Background to the Study
Primary Health Care (PHC) describes the basic tenets and values that guide professional nurses as the continuous practice of health promotion, illness prevention, prompt diagnosis/care of ailments and restoration of sick people to their pre-illness state (Iita, Small and Van, 2011). According to WHO (2010), the utmost priority and objective of primary health care is to ensure improved health for everyone. The organisation has identified five basic principles for this as reducing segregation and inequalities in social health (global coverage); designing health care services around people’s health needs and aspirations (service delivery); integrating health into all sectors (public policy); the pursuing collaborative ideals of policy dialogue (leadership); and the increasing stakeholders’ involvement. In other words, PHC focuses on a strategy that surpasses the orthodox health care arrangement which stresses on health uniformity-yielding social policy; but rather includes all aspects that directly influence health. This include; prompt and timely access to health services, suitable environment and lifestyle. Hence, primary healthcare and public health strategies may together be considered as the fundamentals of universal health system (Daisy, 2009).
In order to achieve these goals, the core attributes of primary health care which are first contact (accessibility), longitudinality (person focused preventive and curative care overtime), patient-oriented comprehensiveness and coordination (including navigation towards secondary and tertiary care) are factors that should be put in place and to also enhance effective health care delivery (WHO, 2008). Besides taking care of the needs of the individuals, primary health care teams also look at the community, especially when addressing social determinants of health. This is achievable through a community oriented primary care (COPC) experience which integrates public health focus and primary health care. The interaction of the primary health care team with different networks (education, work, economy, and housing) are also important. By using all these methods, the primary health care team promote health equity, increase social cohesion and empowerment through its contribution (Daisy, 2009).
According to Chukwu and Momoh (2010), the nursing process which is a universal phenomenon is fundamental for making nursing a unique profession. Consequently, the process of implementation of the components and attributes of primary health care can be best achieved through the use of this process, being a broadly acceptable, systematic method of planning and delivering individualized care for clients in any state of health or illness; and a scientific means of solving the numerous and dynamic nursing problems (Chiarelli, Costanzi, Moraes, Pokorski, and Rabelo, 2009). The nursing process is made up of a global standard through which nursing problems are identified and solved (Elder and Paul, 2005). It is also a method of thinking critically to solve patient problems within the professional practice. The nursing process is a series of steps taken to fulfil the goals and objectives of nursing practice” (Walsh and Yura 1983). The nursing process is a dynamic and an organised pattern for rendering nursing care through six interrelated and overlapping phases of assessing, diagnosing, identifying outcome, planning, implementing and evaluating nursing actions. It is an actual task adopted by professional nurses to identify/ solve patient’s problems and deliver a top quality levels of care among families, groups and communities (American Nurses Association, 2009). At the assessment phase, a thorough exploration of the needs of the individual, family, group or community that are of importance to them are made by the nurse in order to arrive at a diagnosis from the numerous data collected.
At the planning phase, nurses’ judgment of the individual, family, or community’s responses to the important life’s activities; or to specific or potential health needs are identified and planned for. This also provide a basis for the choice of appropriate nursing actions (North American Nursing Diagnosis Association, 2007). The implementation phase addresses the problems identified using the most relevant nursing actions and finally assessed for effectiveness at the evaluation phase (Alfaro-LeFerve, 2004).
However, the Implementation of the nursing process in the community and primary health care settings can be achieved through the principles of action research which requires knowledge and understanding of the major aspects of the nursing process, and the platform through which this knowledge can be applied in practical settings (Good and Savett, 2005). If this is implemented, it will amount to good quality of care that enhances the development of scientific cum theoretical knowledge that rests on a quality clinical nursing care, (Almeida, Barra, Debétio, Marinho, Paese, Rios, and Sasso, 2013). Also, to promote and enhance the worth of nursing practice, the use of nursing process is advocated, because it advances, patterns and designs, in addition to promoting the continuous use of information. This gives nursing staff the opportunities to evaluate their work output/productivity as well as revamp the rate at which they perform their job in relation to their consumers’ responses to care (Dal Sasso, et al., 2013).This research implemented a training programme for community health nurses on the utilisation of nursing process, in primary health care in selected primary health care centres in Ijebu-Ode Local Government Area.